Pantones and Spot Colors

Hello fellow designers and print specialists :slight_smile:

Adobe got rid of a lot of Pantone colors after the last update and it’s put me in a bit of a situation. Much of the time I have to send graphics to vendors with specific pms colors to print, but it’s hard to do with an incomplete pms library.

I tried a workaround but I’m not 100% certain if it will work. I created a spot color that was close to the one I needed for the pms color and named the spot color PANTONE 9126 U - the same way the other uncoated Pantone colors are named.

Will this work? Or is it not as simple as I’m thinking it is? I know the color won’t match exactly what shows on my screen - but it would, hopefully, be the pms color that the client has asked for right?

It sounds like you might need to raise your rates to compensate for Pantone Connect if you want to go the most direct way to be as accurate as possible.

I’m not sure your workaround will work. As the spot color isn’t actually the spot color you need. You coulld try converting the spot color to CMYK and approximate it but even then CMYK can be out of gamut for some Pantone colors.

Well when I was defining the spot color, I got it as close to the pms color I could find online (I know, not the best way to do it) and I didn’t set it under a CMYK color mode, I defined it as a lab color.

I work with Rolands, and it uses spot colors that define special effects. Bright pink is one we use, but when it goes to the printer, the printer knows by the name of the spot color what it needs to do. It doesn’t print the bright pink, instead it will cut a where the bright pink is at.

So, the way I’m thinking about it, as long as I name the spot color appropriately, set it to lab color mode, the printer would interpret it correctly.

This is all just a thought though. I’m thinking that may be TOO easy. Because if people could just go around naming spot colors Pantone colors, why would anyone need to go out of their way to purchase the Pantone color books?

People need to buy the Pantone books so they can talk to each other and mean roughly the same thing. Whatever you create on your computer and how you use it on your rolands is a totally different thing.

Quite honestly I’m not exactly sure how much the high end rips rely on correct Pantone color slider numbers. I just front end, I don’t rip. So gonna leave that one alone

Theoretically, it should work, but I’d mention it to the printer that this is what you’ve done.

If you create a spot color, the spot color is independent of the CMYK separations. Whatever mix of RGB or CMYK colors you see on screen is only for reference since the spot color is output as a separate plate (in offset printing terms) that can be printed in whatever spot color you specify as long as the printer knows what ink color you want the spot color to print on the press.

With digital printing, it seems a bit murkier since the separations are hidden and dealt with by the RIP behind the scenes and are never seen in the form of separate printing plates. I have no idea whether or not the Pantone color lookup tables the digital printer might have would match up with a spot color that you’ve named the same as the Adobe-supplied spot colors that are no longer there.

If @PrintDriver doesn’t yet know how this will be dealt with in the digital world, I doubt very few people do have an answer. As I said, talk it over with the printer.

Adobe has promised that colors already applied to files stay as Pantone colors and that they should be compatible with rips. We haven’t had a problem with the colors currently missing from the Adobe libraries being downloaded from Connect. And the rips/machinery usually carry a Pantone license. The download colors from Pantone Connect still seem to have the same naming convention. We’re waiting to see what happens when the libraries are pulled from the software. But I doubt there will be an issue there. Other than on the design side with the Connect’s clunky interface.

It depends on how the vendor handles Pantone colors. This is definitely a ‘tell the vendor what you did’ moment. This idea actually kind of gives me the shudders, and I’m not sure why. Certainly gonna float it past the higher ups.

The method you described would work in our environment just fine, with some caveats. We’re almost all digital print though.

Our main production RIP here where I work processes spot colors by name via a set of libraries. If the input file contains a color named PANTONE 9126 U, it’ll look through our custom color library first, followed by the RIP’s licensed PANTONE libraries until it finds a color by that name. If the color is found, all’s well. The RIP knows what values to use whether thats Lab or spectral data or something else. If it isn’t found then the RIP does its best to approximate what it thinks you want based on… something. I’ve never been able to determine how it processes spot colors that aren’t in a library. Needless to say it isn’t usually a very good approximation.

That being said, I’m a relative newb having only worked in this industry for 7.5 years. 5 years of that being prepress production art type work, but very fluent in Adobe CC previous to that. Currently doing workflow/RIP management/color management for same company.

I find the technology and color theory/application to be fascinating but I am by no means an expert on anything but our own equipment and (as I understand it based on what I’m told) very unconventional & highly customized processes.

In general I agree with Just-B and PrintDriver. Definitely check with your printer whether the method you used to create the production file is appropriate.

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Pantone pulled out of Adobe.
Adobe has nothing to do with Pantone.

Pantone want everyone to get their own subscription.
It’s $50 a year something - pass it on to your customers/clients.

You can still find your old files and older pantone colours by using Bridge to find files with certain spot colours - and you can continue to use them.

It’s just the colour books won’t be there any more.